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SHIRLEY — Most folks in Shirley would consider Raymond Farrar a true town of Shirley native. After all, he has lived in Shirley for all of his nearly 84 years. But the truth is, Mr. Farrar was born in Florida.

“Believe it or not, I could not get a birth certificate until I was 65 years old,” he said during a recent interview in his home on Ayer Road in Shirley. “My mom and dad went for a vacation from Shirley to Miami, Fla., and I was born there. But when I tried to get a record of my birth, they said that they had no record of me being born down there.”

“Well, when my wife was living in Vero Beach (Florida), she said to me that I should try again and ‘give them a call.’ I told (the woman at the Miami records department) my name, age and where I was born, which was Fulford. She said, ‘That’s not part of Miami.’ She said, ‘I’ll send this record over to the Fulford office.’ I sent them a check and when I got home, (my birth certificate)was there. Sixty-five years without a birth certificate.”

Raymond Farrar is full of stories, not just about his own life, but also about nearly every family in Shirley. In fact, he literally has a commode full of historical photographs of the buildings and people of the town.

“Mr. Brockelman, who owned the (Brockelman Bros.) drug store that used to be on Main Street — now The Great Wall Chinese restaurant — sold postcards of Shirley, and before he would choose a postcard, he would choose a large picture and have it reduced in size for postcards and sell them.

“Well, he had all of these photographs, and about eight years ago, I asked his daughter-in-law, Priscilla, if I could make copies of those large photographs. She said ‘yes,’ but she died before I could copy the photos. But her son, Bruce, gave me permission, and I paid about $300 to have the copies made…I just wanted to have them because they were old pictures of Shirley.”

Then, about five years ago, Mr. Farrar wrote a story that he wanted to have published in the local weekly newspaper, The Shirley Volunteer. “I went in and got to talking with (then editor) Amy Peck, and said I’d like to make a book some day with all of the pictures and stories, but that I didn’t have the time right then.

“And she said, ‘Well, you had the time to write this one, didn’t you?’ She suggested that I just write one story a week. So I’ve been doing that ever since.”

“For every story that we publish,” says Peck, now the publisher of the weekly, “he has a handful more that he wishes he had the pictures for. He’s always trying to find photos to go with his stories. People are not always willing to share their own stories, but if they could share their photos with him, then Ray could use them to tell stories of his own.”

Both the Shirley Historical Society and The Shirley Volunteer save all of Mr. Farrar’s published stories for his future book, which he has already titled “A Little Bull about Shirley.”

“The reason I call it that is that it isn’t exactly historically accurate with dates and everything, but it is all based on the real history of Shirley.” Farrar pictures the cover of the book as having a line drawing of a little bull, tail up in the air, like an illustration out of an old almanac.

“The first story I wrote was about (Shirley Volunteer Publisher Emeritus) Sylvia Shipton’s father, who was a blacksmith.” According to Farrar, Shirley Center, where Shipton lives today, was referred to as “snob hill” in the old days. “That’s where the aristocrats lived. The working class lived in the Village (downtown.) There used to be a big partition in this town.”

Farrar, a former electrician and electrical instructor at the Industrial School for Boys, which closed in 1972, still lives in the Village with his wife, Shirley, in the house of his grandmother. “My great-grandparents moved to Shirley in 1842,” says Farrar. His treasure trove of some 300 historical photographs of the town of Shirley lay within the drawers of a cabinet given to his great-grandmother by his great- grandfather around that time.

But he doesn’t want them to stay there. “I want to have someone help me write down all of the names and places in these photographs before I die,” says Farrar. “I’m in good health now, but you never know.”

Meredith Marcinkewicz, curator of the Shirley Historical Society, says that the historical society would be happy to provide a volunteer to enter all of the information for each photograph into one of the museum computers, and to preserve and archive the photographs. In that way, the history of each will be preserved for generations to come.

“My attorney is doing up papers so the Shirley Historical Society can make a book out of (my stories) and keep the proceeds from the sales,” says Farrar.

Judging by his five years of published photos and stories about everything from how the close proximity of the coats and hats hung up in the old Church Street School in the 1920s caused an epidemic of head lice, to the history of the Sanderson family’s Walnut Shade Farm on the border of Shirley and Lancaster, with its Jersey cows that “gave a nice cream layer at the top of the bottle,” “A Little Bull about Shirley” is going to be a wonderful keepsake for anyone who is curious about the people and places of a little town called Shirley, Massachusetts.